The scene is the view from the rocky beach on the southwest of Brownsea Island, the biggest of three small islands which lie in Poole Harbour. The island is famous for being the place where Lord Baden Powell set up the first ever scout camp in 1907 and also for being one of the only refuges here in the UK for the native Red Squirrel (and no, we didn't see any, disappointingly). In the distance is Furzey Island which houses an oil drilling rig amongst the deep forestation, but I left this off as it did nothing for the composition :). Rising behind in the distance is the Purbeck hills, a ridge of chalk hills, much of it heathland, which once continued to the Isle of Wight until the sea finally broke through to fill Poole Harbour at the end of the last ice age. From other view points on the island, you can also see across to a narrow peninsular of low lying land called Sandbanks, one of the most expensive places to live in the world! A very beautiful and inspiring place.
|Look Grandad! oil on canvas, 12" x 16"|
Just to prove it's mine, here it is on the easel. The steel rule came in handy to check the freehand painted horizon was level - which I assure you it is now, although my wonky pictures may not help to convince you! I come from a long line of picture straighteners and so a wonky horizon would just not do. It would be the visual equivalent of fingernails on a chalkboard to my eyes! Evidence of one of my other passions - attempting to play the guitar - is just visible to the left.
|My first big oil painting|
And finally, here is one I took at some ridiculous time of the day in poor light. This shows the initial sketch which helped me to establish the composition and check general tonal values. I did this the night before the main part of the painting. Although it's not strictly an underpainting, it helped a lot, although I had to almost completely redraw the group of people who had appeared to have grown in size since the gouache sketch. The actual real painting took about three and a bit hours in one session (interrupted only by dog walking duties) so I'm going to call this Alla Prima :-P.
Happy weekend to you all, Michael.
|Initial raw umber sketch|